Effective Threat Detection:
What Is Threat Detection and Response (TDR)?

Thuy Nguyen - January 10, 2023

Threat detection and response (TDR) refers to cybersecurity tools that identify threats by analyzing user behaviors. These tools are valuable for preventing highly evasive threats, as well as containing breaches and improving endpoint security. Threat detection and response can also help a business deal with malware and other cyber threats.

There are different models for building a threat detection and response tool, including Zero Trust, where all users need frequent authorization. Regardless of the model and threat detection method, threat detection and response must meet the needs of your business. With effective threat detection and response, applications and sensitive data can be protected against advanced attacks.

Threat Detection and Response

Threat detection and response is a cybersecurity tool designed to identify and prevent cyber threats. It can generally stop known threats, unknown threats and highly evasive malware that standard malware protection can miss. Understanding how each piece of threat detection and response works is the first step to finding the right tool for your business.

What Is Threat Detection?

Threat detection is the process of analyzing a security ecosystem at the holistic level to find malicious users, abnormal activity and anything that could compromise a network. Threat detection is built on threat intelligence, which involves tools that are strategic, tactical and operational. Highly evasive cyber threats are the main focus of threat detection and response tools.

What Is Threat Response?

Threat response consists of the mitigation efforts used to neutralize and prevent cyber threats before they create vulnerabilities. These efforts monitor systems in real time and create alerts when detecting cyber threats and malicious behavior. Threat response is also built on threat intelligence.

How Threat Detection Works

With active monitoring from managed detection and response, threat detection can spot known and unknown threats using threat intelligence. Once a threat is identified, the threat response creates alerts or takes other action to prevent an attacker from accessing systems or sensitive data. A good threat detection and response tool can stop a variety of cyber threats.

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Examples of Cyber Threats

Cyber threats can be separated into common cyber threats and advanced persistent threats. While a good threat detection and response tool should be effective against multiple types of cyber threat, most are built with highly evasive threats as a priority.

Examples of Common Cyber Threats

Common cyber threats include ransomware, malware, distrubuted-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and phishing. These kinds of attacks often come from outside a business, but they can also be used by an insider threat. An insider in this context is commonly a current or former employee with intimate knowledge of the business. Ransomware — software designed to encrypt files and block access until a business pays money — is the most prevalent of the common cyber threats.

Examples of Advanced Persistent Threats

Advanced persistent threats are attack campaigns where attackers establish a presence on a network to gain access over the long term. The goals of these attackers range from hacktivism to cyber espionage and financial gain. These cyber threats are designed to infiltrate, insert malware and gather credentials, then exfiltrate without detection. One example was the 2015 data breach of more than four million U.S. government personnel records by the suspected hacker group DEEP PANDA.

Threats That Are the Focus of Threat Detection and Response

Highly evasive cyber threats are the main focus of threat detection and response tools. These cyber threats are designed to avoid being detected by antivirus software, endpoint detection and other cybersecurity solutions. Using a variety of methods, threat detection and response tools are built to prevent these evasive cyber threats.

Methods and Types of Threat Detection

Threat detection generally falls into four types, each of which excels in different circumstances. Many methods of threat detection have been designed with cloud security as a priority. These types of threat detection include advanced threat detection and threat modeling methods.

Defining Advanced Threat Detection

Advanced threat detection is a set of evolving security techniques used by malware experts to identify and respond to persistent malware threats. These techniques usually include sandboxing, a security method that isolates suspicious files in a virtual environment.

Threat hunting is a type of advanced threat detection used to identify ongoing threats. Threat hunting monitors everyday activities and network traffic to find anomalies and ongoing malicious activity. Advanced threat detection can also include multiple threat modeling methods.

Examples of Threat Modeling Methods

Threat modeling is a useful strategy to identify and respond to cyber threats. MITRE ATT&CK®, a globally accessible base of knowledge of attacker techniques and tactics, is an example of threat modeling. Each threat modeling process should apply threat intelligence, identify assets and mitigation capabilities, assess risks and perform threat mapping. Other threat modeling methods include the Common Vulnerability Scoring System and the Visual, Agile and Simple Threat.

Different Types of Threat Detection

There are four types of threat detection: configuration, modeling, indicator and threat behavior. Configuration identifies threats by finding deviations to code based on known architecture. Modeling is a mathematical approach which defines a “normal” state and marks any deviations as threats.

Indicators are used to mark files or data as good or bad based on elements of information which identify these states. Threat behaviors codify the behavior of attackers for detection, relying on analysis of actions taken within a network or application. Each type of threat detection excels in different scenarios. Knowing which your business needs can help determine which threat detection tools to use.

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Threat Detection Systems, Tools and Software

Threat detection continues to advance to keep up with new and evolving cyber threats. The most important aspect of any threat detection tool or software is that it works for your business. Different types of threat detection systems provide different protection, and there are many options to choose from.

The Capabilities Threat Detection Software Should Include

Current threat detection software works across the entire security stack, providing teams visibility and insight into threats. At a minimum, threat detection software should include detection technology for network events, security events and endpoint events.

For network events the detection identifies suspicious traffic patterns. For security events data is collected from activity across the network, including authentication and access. Threat detection for endpoints should gather information to assist with threat investigation of potentially malicious events.

Different Threat Detection Systems

Traditional threat detection uses technology like security information and event management (SIEM), endpoint detection and response (EDR) and network traffic analysis. SIEM collects data to generate security alerts, but lacks the ability to respond to threats.

Network traffic analysis and endpoint detection and response are greatly effective in identifying localized threats, but cannot detect evasive threats and require complex integration. An intrusion detection system can monitor a network for policy violations and malicious activity. Advanced threat detection and response uses threat intelligence to monitor the entire system for attacks that bypass traditional threat detection.

Different Threat Detection Tools

There are several different tools that detect and prevent cyber threats.

  • Deception technology, which protects against cyber threats from attackers that have infiltrated the network.
  • Vulnerability scanning, which attempts to automatically identify any vulnerabilities in application and network security.
  • Ransomware protection, which identifies ransomware as it starts operation and prevents it from encrypting files.
  • User behavior analytics, which tracks and assesses activity and data using monitoring systems.

Each threat detection tool is strong for a specific threat prevention. By integrating tools or using an advanced threat detection and response system, your business can achieve better cybersecurity.

The Value of Advanced Threat Protection

Advanced threat detection and response can provide security to your business against known and unknown threats. It is also effective against the most evasive cyber threats. Choosing the right type of threat detection for your needs and the tools that fit your business are vital.

The CrowdStrike Falcon® platform works with threat intelligence in real time to provide threat detection and response. Learn more here.


Thuy Nguyen is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at CrowdStrike focusing on Falcon OverWatch threat hunting service. Thuy previously held roles at Microsoft, driving advancement and thought leadership in AI and machine learning, specifically on open source solutions and responsible AI. Thuy holds an MBA from University of Michigan, concentrating in technology and marketing. Thuy currently resides in Seattle, Washington.